How to Apply High Visibility Safety Apparel Certificates?

For everyone involves in the safety/high visibility/reflective clothing space, getting to know how an item of safety clothing achieves CE certification is useful, it can help in understanding what certification really means, as well as assist in the selection of safety clothing that meets CE standards.How to apply for CE marking?

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Safety clothing requires CE marking before it can be sold in the EU. CE marking indicates that safety clothing has been assessed by the manufacturer and deemed to meet EU safety, health, and environmental protection requirements. It is required for safety clothing manufactured anywhere in the world that is then marketed in the EU.

If you are a manufacturer of safety clothing and exporting them to Europe, you probably already know how to certify it. However, if you are an importer, wholesaler, brand owner, or retailer. you might be confused. How to apply for CE marking? For everyone involves in the safety/high visibility/reflective clothing space, getting to know how an item of safety clothing achieves CE certification is useful, it can help in understanding what certification really means, as well as assist in the selection of safety clothing that meets CE standards.

What does “CE marking” mean?

The letters CE stand for “Conformité Européenne” which means “European Conformity”. The term initially used was “EC Mark” but this was officially replaced by “CE marking” in Directive 93/68/EEC in 1993. “CE marking” is now used in all official EU documents.

The CE marking symbolizes the conformity of the product with the applicable Community requirements imposed on the manufacturer.

The CE marking affixed to products is a declaration by the person responsible that the product conforms to all applicable Community provisions and that the appropriate conformity assessment procedures have been completed.

A key consideration for all types of personal protective equipment (PPE) is to ensure that the product has been appropriately CE marked as this is a mandatory requirement for PPE products entering the European market. This not only covers the evaluation of initial examples but also bulk production2. When is CE marking mandatory?

CE marking is only obligatory for products for which EU specifications exist and require the affixing of CE marking.

Some products are subject to several EU requirements at the same time. You must make sure that your product complies with all the relevant requirements before affixing the CE marking to it. It is forbidden to affix the CE marking to products for which EU specifications do not exist or do not require the affixing of CE marking. So if you want to market and sell hi visibility workwear in the EU, it must be CE marked.

With a CE marking, you can provide proof to customers and authorities that the product meets the requirements for quality, safety, and performance in accordance with at least one of the applicable standards.

How do you know if your product requires a CE mark?

The best way is to ask a third party for help. Here are two European Notified Bodies for your reference.

  1. SATRA: is a European Notified Body and has a team of experts on hand to help you through the process of the testing and certification of your products to meet the requirements of the PPE Regulation.
  2. TÜV Rheinland: it stands for safety and quality in virtually all areas of business and life. Founded almost 150 years ago, the company is one of the world’s leading testing service providers with more than 20,600 employees.

What kind of certificates should apply for the high visibility clothing?

Once a product is designed and ready to be certified, the first task is to identify which EN standards it should be certified to.

EN ISO 20471

EN ISO 20471 is an international standard that imposes requirements on visible workwear for employees in high-risk areas. It is divided into three classes, the visibility requirement – and thus the requirement for the area consisting of reflectors and fluorescent materials – that determines which class you need to choose.

By combining two individual products with EN ISO 20471, you can achieve class 3 certification for a whole set. For example, if you have a jacket from product group B (the product group’s letter can be found on the product label), you can achieve EN ISO 20471 class 3 for the entire set by selecting leg wear marked with Y or X.

EN 17353

EN17353:2020 specifies requirements for enhanced visibility equipment in the form of garments, or devices, which are capable of visually signaling the user’s presence. The enhanced visibility equipment is intended to provide conspicuity to the wearer in medium-risk situations under any daylight conditions and/or under illumination by vehicle headlights or searchlights in the dark. Performance requirements are included for color and retroreflection as well as for the minimum areas and for the placement of the materials in protective equipment. The standard also describes the design requirements for the various product types that are covered by:

  • Type A only provides protection in daylight. Products certified in accordance with EN 17353, type A contain a minimal amount of fluorescent material.
  • Type B provides protection in the evenings and at night. Products certified in accordance with EN 17353, type B must either have free hanging reflectors (type B1), have detachable or affixed reflectors on legs and sleeves on long-sleeved types of clothing (type B2), or comply with the minimum requirements for reflective material with reflective tapes on both the body and legs/sleeves (type B3).
  • Type AB provides protection in daylight, twilight, and night. Products certified in accordance with EN 17353 type AB must increase visibility and contain both.

Cost, time, and who should handle the certificate process

  • Cost

For one item, including all test reports cost, the total expense is roughly $3000.00, if the supplier could provide the required test reports, the cost will be lower.

The cost could be afforded by the buyer, seller, or both. If it’s a special style and the order quantity is small, the buyer will afford the cost.

The certification of a common style with large order quantities, in this case, there is the possibility that the seller affords the cost.

The last option is buyer and seller to afford the cost together. That depends on styles, order quantities, and the value of goods.

  • Time

The whole process will cost at least several months as there are many documents that need to be prepared, and the testing labs are very busy and very slow.

  • Who

Here are two options for applying for certification.

  1. The supplier will provide reports, like samples, materials, etc, and assist the buyer to apply for the certificate. It usually takes several months to make a certificate, so it takes a lot of time for buyers.
  2. Suppliers are responsible for the whole process of applying for certificates, which is the easier way for buyers.

As this is a long and complicated process, all you need to do is to find a professional supplier who has rich experience in applying for CE Markin

The process of applying for CE Marking

Fill out the application form

The testing lab will send you the application form, just filling it out is fine.

Design testing

We advise applying for a design test at the early stage as that’s crucial. Before sending the sample, we may send photos or design drawings to the testing lab to see if it can pass the test. If not, then adjust the design. At the same time, ask the supplier to check whether the minimum area meets the standard requirements. NOTE:

a. Visible areas are measured according to the minimum area requirements. b. Send the smallest sample to the testing organization

Compile the technical documentation

Technical documentation, usually referred to as the technical file, relating to the product or range of products needs to be compiled. This information should cover every aspect relating to conformity and is likely to include details of the design, development, and manufacture of the product.

Submit test reports, user information, and product marking ( washing labels)

According to the material requirements of standards and material list, all the related test reports need to be handed over to the testing lab.

The user information and product marking are also necessary. For reflective apparel, the product marking is a washing label.

Receiving certificates

The certificate will be issued once all tests are passed.

It’s better to apply for UKCA and CE marking at the same time if you sell in the UK and European countries, that will be easier and more efficient.

Applying for CE marking is a very critical part of importing safety clothing from anywhere in the world. Choosing an experienced supplier will be cost-saving and time-efficient. LINO safety is not only a supplier but also your trusted advisor.

For more information about the standards of safety clothing, please kindly contact LINO safety today at [email protected].

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Ellen

Hello there! I'm Ellen, your go-to safety clothing expert with over 16 years of experience. My team and I specialize in hi-vis clothing and reflective wear, helping businesses like yours thrive.

What sets us apart is our commitment to streamlined processes, transparency, and prioritizing your needs. We're not just vendors, we're solution providers.

So, why not connect with me for a no-risk free consultation and a free sample? Let's start a conversation today!

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